Team Bonsie gearing up for Relay for Life

CHAMPLAIN Kathy Bonsie is a survivor in every sense of the word. For her 50th birthday she got one heck of a surprise, she found out she had breast cancer. She had a mastectomy, went through chemotherapy treatments, which were tough, but so was she. An aerobics instructor at Global Fitness for about seven years, Kathy, who holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do was back on the treadmill as soon as she got clearance from her physician. I had people that had joined the gym, but were complaining that they had to work out, but here she was longing to get back into it, said Joy Jubert, co-owner of the gym. When they watched Kathy come in with her headscarves on, they soon saw that they had nothing to complain about. She truly was an inspiration to them, she added. That was in 2002, and now the cancer has returned and affected her lung. And she is still going strong. Within a few weeks after yet another surgery, and more chemotherapy treatments, she was longing to get back into the fitness routine once again. She actually called here asking for her weights, said a co-worker, Stacey LaMountain. She and the staff at North Country Medical Group in Champlain have made her Captain of Team Bonsie, a group of about 15 that will soon be participants in the Relay for Life scheduled for June 15 at the Clinton County Fairgrounds . Shes our motivation, just looking at everything shes been through, said teammate Jessica Wells. When you look at her you see a very strong person, she always wears a smile and never seems down, added Jessica. She doesnt give up, because she is a fighter, said Stacey. She is just a one-of-a-kind, agreed Rhonda Cushing. She too will be participating in the Relay for Life, but will be supporting two teams - Team Bonsie, and another she and her family have formed in honor of her mother, Louane Dragoon, and aunt, Roxanne Dumas, twin sisters who both fought very hard but lost their battles with cancer a few years ago. It was clear from the tears welling up that Rhonda and Kathy have grown very close and draw comfort from of each other. Im still here at work, I just rest when Im tired, Kathy said. Kathy, a laboratory technician for some 35 years, has been employed at North Country Medical Group for the past 18. The patients here know me so well, and they have been very supportive of our fundraising, Kathy said. On MayDay to Relay, May 1, they sold a total of 45 carnations - one to nearly every patient that came in for an appointment. Team Bonsie has already surpassed the goal of $1000, in fact theyve raised more than double that amount and plan to keep going. And theres more fighters out there than just me, she added. Its true, she has been known to help patients when she sees they are going through battles with cancer too, said Joy, who has also been a long-time friend of Kathys. This will be Kathys sixth walk with Relay for Life, but her first time going as a team. She walks for her father, who died of kidney cancer, as well as several aunts who have battled various types of cancer. And she walks in hopes that someday there will be a cure. How to Help: North Country Medical Group is having a garage sale and bottle drive to benefit the American Cancer Society- Relay for life 2007. It will be held at 481 Route 11, Champlain, NY (at North Country Medical Group's location) on May 19th from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. All bottle donations can be dropped off at this location. Any questions call Lisa at 298-2691 ext 113.

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